The Ultimate Zombie List – What Every Zombie Fanatic Should See, Read, and Play

In Celebration of Left4Dead 2’s Recent Release, We List the Best Films, Books and Games Starring Zombies

Left4Dead 2 was an intense, thrilling experience. Playing as one of four survivors fighting their way through hordes of zombies was fun, frightening, action-packed, and heroic. Left4Dead 2 also was an excellent reminder about why I loved zombie-themed games, movies, and books.

Zombies are a reminder of our own mortality, and our fear of death. They are terrifying nemeses because they are still nearly human. They terrify us because of their size, because of their numbers, and because they can be found anywhere. They are also thrilling. The idea of a zombie apocalypse is fascinating because it opens up a world where there are no rules and no laws. A world that is drastically, irrevocably changed. Zombies are at once terrifying and liberating, and numerous games, movies and books have taken advantage of their odd allure.

In honor of Left4Dead 2, I’ve crafted a list of the most essential zombie experiences. If you’ve played/seen/read all of them, congratulations, you are a zombie aficionado. So, feast your eyes on this list, and as always, leave us a comment if you liked the article or felt that we missed something essential.

22. Cemetery Man

Cemetery Man (which is also known as Dellamorte Dellamore) tells the story of a young cemetery caretaker who has to put down the living dead, because, you see, this cemetery seems to awaken the dead after they’ve been in the ground for seven days. The movie tells the story of the caretaker, a woman he falls in love with, his strange assistant, and their even stranger job of finishing off the living dead. Existential, dark, and at times funny as well, Cemetery Man should be on any zombie fans list of essential films to see.

21. Doom 3

Doom 3 is a terrifying game. Mars is overrun by demonic forces that kill and create zombies out of many of the people living in and working on the red planet. In the game, you don’t have a flashlight on your gun. You only have the ability to carry a flashlight (while ceding protection) or carry your weapon (while giving up your ability to see in the dark). And Doom 3 is dark. There are so many rooms where a loud moan causes you to bring up your flashlight, where, in a far corner, you see a zombie. But what do you do? You have to turn off your flashlight to use your gun. And then, what if the zombie has moved? What if you can’t hear them?

20. Call of Duty: World At War – Nazi Zombies

We all enjoy killing Nazis. And it’s also lots of fun to kill zombies. So, killing zombie Nazis with a bunch of friends is the cream of the crop. Can you survive the Nazi zombie hordes?

"Zombie Nazi want brains!!!"

"Zombie Nazi want brains!!!"

19. The Return of the Living Dead

This seminal, 1980s film, tells the tale of the resurrection of the dead thanks to the release of a zombie recovered from Pittsburgh in the 1960s. Stored in a vat at a mortuary for many years, the zombie is freed and brings hordes of the undead to life, terrorizing a cremator and his assistant as well as a group of high school punks hanging out in a graveyard. The Return of the Living Dead is funny, snide (with lots of references to George Romero’s film, Night of the Living Dead), and features zombies who only utter one word – “Brains!”

18. Zombi 2

Zombi 2, known in the U.S. as Zombi, is an Italian film released during the zombie-movie heyday following the huge success of Dawn of the Dead. The story takes place on a Caribbean island, where long-dead Spanish conquistadors suddenly rise from the grave, infect the island, and end up in a massive showdown at a wooden mission. The film, while simplistic in its plot, has lots of scares and some intense special effects.

17. Thriller

Michael Jackson’s nearly fifteen-minute long music video for Thriller is a landmark in music videos. Ridiculously expensive to make, extremely elaborate, and featuring the undead Michael Jackson dancing with hundreds of zombie followers, Thriller wasn’t just a great song accompanied by a great music video, it was a landmark for how popular music could be combined with theatrical stages to tell a story. Great special effects and makeup. Great music.

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